Understanding Racism and the Perpetuation of Racial Stereotypes: Why Did Ferguson Happen?

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Today, a friend shared a video of a speaker in her UU church. Although I didn’t know it before I began watching, I needed desperately to see this video. The message was so profound, I was nearly in tears when it ended.

The speaker began to highlight some recent hot topic events, including what is happening in Ferguson. His message reached beyond guilty/innocent, and into the depths of why we are even experiencing this atrocity—something I believe we should address head on until it is no more.

He spoke of the racial stereotypes embedded in our collective mind so deeply that we often act before our better judgment changes our actions. These stereotypes of which he spoke are age old. They didn’t come about by any truth, but were perpetuated during what is known as the postbellum period in the United States.

That time of reconstruction after the Civil War found many with a sour taste in their mouths. They were upset they’d lost the right to own slaves—their source of profit. So, they concocted a string of lies to scare people into discriminating against people of color in order to keep people of color in indentured servitude. Some of those lies were created out of fear—former slave owners really thought slaves would revolt and kill them if freed. What we see today in our media is an outgrowth of the web of lies these angry, fearful white southern sympathizers created.

In the documentary film Ethnic Notions by California Newsreel, we are shown several stereotypes created to defame African American people, as well as other people of color. Early filmmakers concocted images of African Americans who were “lazy,”  “shiftless,” “violent,” and African American women who are not sexually attractive. Each of these stereotypes served a purpose.

By showing African Americans to be less than the ideal human beings and perpetuating prejudices, white Americans could retain the control they so desired. Beyond that, these stereotypes also created a group of “others” who barely functioned as “true Americans,” therefore making it “acceptable” to exclude them from the “in” group. These stereotypes were the bedrock of Jim Crow laws—the dastardly laws enacted to form segregation, justify lynching, and the other atrocities that happened pre-Civil Rights Movement.  Why would we still subconsciously submit to these false stereotypes? Have you ever watched TV?

In the media, nearly every person of color fits into some stereotype. African American men are portrayed as either only successful because they are athletes, or lazy criminals with no job. Moreover, no matter which role they portray, they’re shown to be violent. We, then, are subliminally told to fear them, not to admire them, and definitely not to respect them.

African American women are often portrayed as having children they do not want—or worse, need. They are shown to be loud mouthed, disrespectful, and either sexually unattractive or promiscuous. In that way, white men would never “want” to be with them sexually, and if they are with them, it is because the women are “giving it away”—the men are led on by sexual prowess and promiscuity. Sadly, this stereotype was born of the “Mammy” figure in order to cover the sins of white men who raped African American slave women.  Male or female, these stereotypes are dangerous and damaging to the African American community. Yet the media perpetuates them over and over for us to view—although this is improving, somewhat.

Bringing this back to the issue of Ferguson, Missouri and the death of Michael Brown, we can see that we cannot separate this tragedy from racism. What happened there is so deeply intertwined with racism that we cannot tear them apart. Although people want to deny that and argue only that Michael Brown was a “criminal,” a “thug” who “got we he deserved,” we must ask ourselves why Darren Wilson thought it necessary to use deadly force. For one, he was not carrying a Taser—a fact released after the grand jury decision, but why did he think he needed to shoot and kill Michael Brown, a young man who was unarmed and who had not committed a violent crime such as murder?

By his own account, Wilson was afraid. He thought Brown was a “demon”.  This man towering near 6’4” and 210 pounds, a man who was carrying a gun and had access to call in back up, feared an unarmed teen—a Black teen. But why? Was it so embedded in Wilson’s subconscious that black men are “demons,” that they want to kill all white men, that his better judgment was lost?  Is this the world we have created, and continue to perpetuate? Are we going to continue to allow groups like the KKK to feed this toxic disinformation to us?

We need to remember from where these stereotypes are born—they are born from hate filled white men, who feared loss of their patriarchal power, and sometimes even their lives, to those they had enslaved for hundreds of years. These stereotypes have no scientific basis—ethnology was disproved decades ago. We must end these lies in order to save lives and procure peace.

If you take nothing else from Ferguson, please at least recognize why this tragedy happened, and why it happens over and over again. It’s not just about one police officer, one child killed, or even one community at odds with itself. This is about an entire group of people seeking no more than the same rights we white people enjoy every day. This is about understanding our fellow human beings as actual human beings who are as capable of being moral and upright as we. We cannot let this fade away, known only as “that time some protesters set some buildings on fire”. No. We need to make this known as the time we all finally came together to change our world—both black and white—for the better. If we want to prevent more Fergusons from happening, if we don’t want more parents to feel the pain the parents of Michael Brown are experiencing, then it’s time to demolish the walls we’ve built, once and for all. Let’s put Jim Crow to rest. It’s long past time to say goodbye to him, the only real demon here today.

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Bad Reflexes: Reactions to Ferguson

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I awoke this morning to comments to the effect of “you didn’t see white folks protest after OJ was acquitted,” and “white people don’t go around destroying their own neighborhoods over a court decision”.  You know what? There is a kernel of truth there, but there is reason behind the truth.

First of all, the OJ case was different. He was indicted. He went to trial. Wilson will never be on trial. He appointed himself as the supreme decider of Michael Brown’s life. Even if the kid stole a truck load of cigars, he didn’t deserve to die. Michael Brown didn’t have the opportunity for a trial. No grand jury got to decide if he’d be indicted because Wilson decided that there, on that street where Mike Brown lost his life. OJ’s case was also not racially motivated. Brown was killed because of racial stereotypes. How many differences would you like me to point out? Point being there was no need to protest because an entire People was not under attack by OJ Simpson.

Which brings me to the second point. No, white folks generally don’t protest court decisions. Would you like to know why? The militarized police state we white folks have created doesn’t have white children in the streets killing them. People of color must live in fear of law enforcement. Would you not protest if your babies were being killed in the streets?

Don’t get me wrong. This overreaching police state is becoming a problem for everyone, more so than most would like to admit. However, if you’re a person of color, as has always been, you are at a greater risk for being acted upon violently. Racial stereotypes have perpetuated visions of demons that simply do not exist.

And while I’m at it, let’s make one thing clear: White folks do protest. We riot over our favorite sports team being “robbed” on the court or field. We will burn a town down if a rival basketball team takes a championship. We are as prone to violence as anyone of color, just for different reasons. We don’t protest and riot court decisions because we don’t have to. We aren’t under attack.

Mainly, what I would like for people to understand comes from a tweet I read this morning. It stated simply:

“If, after last night’s decision, all you saw was rioting, you missed everything.”

(Image and quotation source: https://twitter.com/KevinAvery/status/537231346473893888)

Ferguson Decision: White Privilege and Injustice

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Most of the day, I gritted my teeth. My jaws were clenched from the moment I heard there was a verdict. Somehow, I just knew this wouldn’t end well. Not that it should be a surprise. I mean, I never expected justice. Hoped for it, yes, but I was never optimistic.

Why the pessimism? I owe that strictly to my awareness of my glaring white privilege.

Privilege never leaves my side. Every time one of my sons walks out my door, I am aware of how lucky I am to be born lacking a great deal of melanin. That’s not a choice I made. It certainly doesn’t make me superior. It’s just dumb luck. Regardless, I can say goodbye to my sons without worrying that some cop will harass them needlessly. I don’t worry they’ll be shot in the street, their bodies left for the world to ogle. For even if harm comes to one of my sons, I can be assured that justice will be served. You see, they’re white, too. Mind you, I don’t feel guilt for the color of my skin, but I know, as do my sons, that random science ensured them a life sans racial prejudice.

Of course, I’ve been aware of my white privilege ever since I read Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. This speech, as well as who Dr. King is, was never taught to me in school. We never celebrated MLK Day. My teachers never so much as whispered the name of this glorious gift to humanity. Imagine my surprise when I was older and found out what went on during the Civil Rights Movement.

When I read King’s speech, I cried. His words were so powerful, so touching. The hope he carried for humanity was so great, so fair, and so inclusive. Dr. King excluded no one from his Dream. He wished for us all to be “brothers and sisters”. This is something the small-minded, patriarchal, white men who led my parochial school wished I would never know, I’m sure. I was just a simple girl who, without doubt, they expected would marry another white patriarchal male, and carry out my wifely duties, letting my husband retain power. Never did they think someone like me would break the cycle, and call their system of white privilege and power into question. Now, I’m no more than a threat to them. I am a “sorry excuse for a white woman,” as I was told today.

That’s fine. If standing up for justice and equality throws me outside the realm of what they consider “good,” I’ll take it. I’ll stand right over here doing what I know in my heart is right. I’ll let the tears flow as I empathize with the pain of so many who have had to fight for every ounce of freedom they have. I will walk beside them hand in hand, just as Dr. King would have wanted. In fact, thinking back on his speech today, I’m saddened. This peaceful man wanted for us to sit at the table together as equals. He never asked to be lifted into superiority. Just equal.

Remembering back to the first time I read the “Dream” speech, no one had to tell me I was privileged. The language of Dr. King spelled that out for me.

You see, the words flooded my mind with visions of suffering and hope for a better tomorrow. I knew this was not something I had ever experienced. I never had to march to be able to sit in a restaurant along with people of other ethnicities. No one forced me into the back of a bus. My relatives were never lynched. Without being told, I knew there was a system built to protect me, even as a woman, that didn’t include people of color. This bothers me. It bothers me because not just a farm, or a city, or even a state was built on the backs of people of color—our entire country was built on the backs of slaves, and expanded from lands stolen from Native people. Nothing in this country belongs to the WASPs who continue to hold the most positions of power, and who continue to perpetuate hate. There was no seat at the table for people of color. Dr. King asked us to build a new table to include everyone, but yet in 2014, his Dream is still not realized.

We continue to live in a society where one white man can be the judge, jury, and executioner for a young man whose only crime was stealing a cigar. It may as well be 1814.

All I can do tonight is hang my head in shame at the hatred and injustice. I, too, wish for the day when I can rejoice with people I consider my brothers and sisters—who biologically are my brothers and sisters. In case you didn’t know, we all come from one shared ancestor. We are all one people by design. The only thing separating us is greed and hatred.

Tonight, I pray for peace. The family of Michael Brown has asked us all to help them rally to legislate that all police officers wear body cameras so tragedies like this might be avoided. The ACLU and SPLC are calling for peace. Let’s do our part. Join hands. March On. Overcome.

(Image source: http://www.koco.com/national/at-ferguson-church-faith-calms-fears/29894368)

My Ranty Anti-Holiday Post

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My family and I really don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. We don’t do the “let’s post how thankful we are for 30 days, only to forget the other 335 days of the year” because being thankful for what we have is a year round activity for us. We recognize that we are lucky to be better off than 85% of the world’s population simply by having clean water, sufficient housing, and plenty food, among other things, so we always try to give back—not just in November. That whole thing of thankful Facebook posts is such a sham to me.

We also do not celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday activities proper. For us, it is simply a day off work when we get to spend time with loved ones, but you won’t find any paper pilgrims or cartoonish Native Americans hanging about our home. What most Americans ignore is that Thanksgiving celebrates the genocide of millions of Native Americans. It celebrates the removal of innocent people from their homes, the acquisition of their property, and the forced assimilation they faced. What Thanksgiving should be is a National day of mourning in remembrance of those who had everything, up to and including their lives, stolen from them. No. We don’t celebrate that. Thanksgiving is no more than a falsely constructed holiday invented to bolster nationalism—another plague of this country. We refuse.

Only adding fuel to my holiday fire of resistance is the commercialization of Christmas—which now apparently begins on Thanksgiving morning. Sure, it’s easy for corporations to justify making people work on one of the few holidays they could be home relaxing with their families, but most of that is bullshit. “Volunteer” is subjective. Volunteer or lose your job? Volunteer because we pay so little you need the extra money to pay the light bill? I’m sure some are glad to get the extra pay, but you’ll never convince me anyone is happy to be working in the chaotic dumpland that is Black Friday.

Moreover, do people even really celebrate Christmas? I mean for real celebrate CHRISTmas? I seem to be a bit hazy on the part in the Bible where it says go out and get in fistfights so you can run yourself into credit card debt buying little Johnny the most expensive electronic crap that you can brag to your neighbors and coworkers about. Maybe I overlooked that. What I haven’t overlooked is the onslaught of those same exact people telling me they want to keep CHRIST in Christmas. Bitch, please!?! YOU don’t even keep Christ in Christmas—JC Penneys, Walmart, Target, GameStop, or Kohls maybe, but not Christ. So when you stop your bullshit commercialization of a misplaced holiday laden with Pagan traditions you won’t admit to, then I’ll feel bad for saying X-mas. Until then, pass the potatoes, sit down, and enjoy some time with your family (something Christ would have encouraged) on a day built for relaxation—not for lining the pockets of the ultra-wealthy who just want you to keep spending money (something Christ would have deplored).

End of the year holidays are stressful enough without worrying about how much I can afford to spend on gifts I’ll be paying interest on long after the stuff is gone. No fake holidays celebrating the massacre of Native People or commercialization of a deity for profit for me. I’ll just be over here hanging with my kids, reading books, eating rubbish, and watching a Simpsons marathon.

(Image source:http://www.massmoments.org/index.cfm?mid=340)

Feast of Memories: Where Have All the Artists Gone? (Excerpt from Searching for Morrison)

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Music is part of that which shapes our lives. Each note and lyric is like looking into society’s reflection on the ripples in a pond. Tonight, I reminisced on some of those reflections I’d seen in my youth listening to The Doors.

Watching the newly released documentary film Feast of Friends, I was reminded of so much music in my past and just how much it meant to me. Unfortunately, I also couldn’t help thinking of the people today who will not have this type of experience with music.  What music once was is seemingly lost. Watching and listening to The Doors explains so much of what is missing from the music industry today.

One specific scene in the film chronicles the recording process with the band. In the studio, Jim Morrison says something to the effect of simply letting the music flow and saving the editing and perfection for things like TV performances.

Wow. I heard that and was immediately struck by what I hear today. Listening to The Doors is not a passive experience. The music draws you in and swirls you around in the ether with it. Sans the lyrics, the musical portions of the songs are akin to Picasso or Dali paintings. Time is lost and found, moving quickly in reverse and sliding slowly forward, sometimes moving sideways. Space is measured in alternating, incongruent increments. Yet, there is great artistic value and meaning, making what we hear somehow cohesive amidst the juxtaposed sounds.

Lyrically, hearing the words of Morrison is not unlike reading Stein or Woolf. Mimicking the musical portion of the songs, time skips from here to there. Repetition creates an unbalanced symmetry in the stream of consciousness that gives Morrison’s work its soul—its meaning. That Morrison can create this conscious bending group of words that carry such a deep impact is nothing less than genius. The music and the lyrics together are something godlike. In fact, I would liken listening to The Doors to allowing a multi-modal artist to set up shop in your brain, creating visually stimulating scenes, punctuated by words, accompanied by a soundtrack. The music composed by The Doors is most definitely an opening of the perceptions. It is an experience of life built into art.It is a trip into worlds uncharted by others; it carries you down within yourself on a trip Nietzsche himself would applaud.

Feast of Friends included many live performance scenes reminding me of a more decadent time when artists were truly Gods. Musicians were inaccessible, for the most part. Many live scenes show an overwhelming amount of security and police separating the crowd from the artists. The Doors were on a pedestal many could only gaze upon, and very few could climb. Fans wished to only be able to touch or look closely upon them. Meeting them was mostly out of the question. One could only dream. There were no meet and greets, bilking people of their hard earned money for a picture and a fake smile. If you met an artist then, it was really an event to remember. And guess what? They wanted to meet you. If not, security would have whisked you promptly away. You were something special, then, not just another paying customer.

Those were the days of excess, when artists were no less than artists. I was only able to experience the tail end of that era in the 80s when things were beginning to fall apart. Many would argue things fell apart in the 70s, but I think some musicians still held on in the 80s. Let me say that when musicians could concentrate on their work—their art, that music held something completely different. The artists weren’t in it to make millions. Of course they wouldn’t turn down the money, but they would’ve kept doing it even if it meant working a straight 9-5 and playing seedy bars on the weekends. They were doing what they loved. For many, it was all they knew. For others, they were intelligent, educated people who, despite college degrees and the hopes of their parents, wanted to create instead of conform. Sure, there were downsides—drugs, alcohol, and other excesses took many of the greats from us, but nonetheless they never sold out. They never let a record label dictate their sound, causing them to be the mirror image of the band recording in the next studio. It is their creative genius that touched the world.

Sadly, it is this creative artistry that is missing today. In the current world of music, and most other types of art, being a good business person overtakes most artistic endeavors. Artistry is measured in dollars and cents and little else.  The generation of instant gratification expects new songs, new albums, and more and more tour dates at a nearly impossible rate. What used to take an artist a year or years to compose is now expected in months. Media, like Itunes, keeps the fastest producing artists on the top of the charts, while those who lag behind can be forgotten. There is little anticipation of an album. Sound bites hit the internet before even the radio gets a snippet. Hell, your friend probably downloaded  that album illegally before it ever hit the store. Gone are the days of waiting anxiously to go to the record store and buy that new album you just can’t wait for. Nope. No grandeur. Just NOW!

The raw creative feel of an album is lost with editing programs like Auto-Tune. I can’t even imagine hearing Morrison’s voice that cleaned up, if we like to call it that. Not to mention, no one need be overly talented anymore. All one need do is sit with a computer and an editing program, and voila! We have music. No spirit is required. Just money and backing. Lots and lots of money and backing. This is the rot and cultural decline our “click it now” society has created. The music industry produces lackluster archetypes of untalented pop stars, while true artists go largely unnoticed.

Of course we have an indie scene in some areas, and to be honest, we do have our Maynard James Keenans (Tool, A Perfect Circle, & Puscifer), Bruce Springsteens, and Nick Caves, but mostly we just have Justin Bieber and Nickleback. That doesn’t begin to name all the popular bands on constant radio circulation, but why bother? They’re all the same when it comes down to talent, content,  and sincerity. (They have none of it.) Sadly, I was closer to naming all the currently popular musicians that show artistic talent. I wish there were more.

Maybe if we ever end the click happy, downloading, talent-less market, we might get back what Morrison and Friends gave us. They weren’t alone. The Beetles, Jefferson Airplane, Buffalo Springfield…Jesus…even Rick Springfield were all magnificent examples of what musicians should do.

I hope all isn’t lost in the world of music. I keep telling myself and my kids that there is still hope. Watching Feast of Friends tonight only inspired me to look farther, deeper, to find what I’m always searching for: something real…real artistry that inspires me to go deeper into myself.

I haven’t found Morrison yet, but I’m not giving up. Until then, I’m elated that films like Feast of Friends exists, so I can visit real artists.

(Searching for Morrison is a compilation of short stories and essays written by Tammie Niewedde. Forthcoming release slated for mid-summer 2016)

(Image Source: http://www.eagle-rock.com/2014/09/the-doors-to-issue-never-released-1968-self-produced-film-feast-of-friends-on-dvd-blu-ray/#.VGgQnfnF9EI)

Fall is for Daddy

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Every November it happens. As the leaves turn and fall, I’m forced to think about tromping through the woods with my dad—hunting, cutting wood—the crisp fall air reminding me winter was near. His birthday is in November, too. We never did anything especially spectacular for his birthday, but I always remember nonetheless.

Although he’s on my mind often, November is the time of year I usually try to reach out to him—to find him again. I lost him when I was about 14. All I really want every year for Christmas is my Dad back.

What’s crazy is we both know exactly where the other lives. I have his phone number, or at least an old one. Both of us have Facebook. No matter how many times I reach out to him be it by social media, snail mail, or phone, the outcome is the same. He isn’t interested. He blames his wife for his not being allowed to have me around, and we play a game where we both pretend to believe that’s the truth, at least while we’re on the phone. He ignores any other correspondence from me completely.

I know exactly what went wrong in our relationship. It was a culmination of things from the divorce with my mother, to his new wife, to my being an asshole teenager, to his refusal to be part of my life. We are both in the wrong on some level. I want desperately to right the wrongs I was responsible for, and I want him to do the same. Thing is, he just doesn’t have that desire. Maybe it’s because he heartily believes that he isn’t my real father. Maybe his wife would really make life that difficult. Maybe it’s because I have a relationship with my grandmother (his mother), who he also despises. Or maybe he’s just that full of hate. No matter. The result will likely always be the same: he will forever deny me.

Loving someone so much it rips a whole in your chest to think of them hurts. Sometimes I wish autumn would just go away. The smell of newly fallen leaves is a constant reminder of my dad holding my hand as we hiked through the woods, bending down to whisper in my ear: “Hear that? That’s a squirrel”. Every NFL game is a reminder of us sitting in the recliner together, eating popcorn, rooting for our beloved Cowboys. Each new fallen snow a reminder of making our way across the field following the tracks of the rabbit dogs. All these fond memories that make me smile, yet cry.

All that’s left for me is the wish he’d come to me. Maybe, one day, the leaves will remind him of me, too.

Tonight on TV 11-09-14

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Because I’m too sick to write about anything truly important, let’s talk about tonight on TV.
The Real Housewives of Atlanta Season Premier

My guilty pleasure (Don’t Judge) is the Real Housewives franchise. Tonight’s season premiere of The Real Housewives of Atlanta has been much anticipated with the news of Apollo Nida’s prison sentence making its rounds on social media in past weeks. All I can say about tonight’s episode is: hold onto your hats for this season because all the drama!

Poor Phaedra. Her love, Apollo, disappointed her so much. Here she is out working, going to school, raising babies, and loving him, and he’s just out bilking millions from folks. I love that Phaedra is so strong to make the hard decisions and stay composed for her sons. Many women could take a few lessons from her.

I have to say, I don’t know Apollo’s circumstances, and I’m not too judgy because I sort of love Apollo, too. I mean, he’s sketchy as shit, but damnit, he seems nice enough. (Not to mention he has alllllll the hotness.) But seriously, Apollo seems like a loyal dude, honestly. I’d be his friend….not like a send him money in prison kind of friend, but I’d write him a letter or something.

Loyalty is in question, however, concerning Phaedra, but honestly, I get what she’s doing, too. Her name and business is at stake. When you’re trying to establish a business, you don’t need people thinking you might be involved in some shady shit like Apollo was involved with. And let us not forget she is an officer of the court. Her clients rely on her being responsible and trustworthy. I don’t know if I’d feel right retaining an attorney who had dealings with someone involved in criminal activity unless she was representing them. There is also the fact she’s raising two little boys. They have to know criminal behavior is not acceptable. If they see mommy condone it, then they’re going to believe it’s okay.

I feel horrible for Apollo. It made me sad to see him standing alone on what must have been a terrifying day. On the other hand, he had to know the risk he was taking. This isn’t his first whirl around the prison block. He gambled and he lost, simple as that. Unfortunately, it looks like it might cost him his family—not to mention a professional future and 8 years of his life (5 with good behavior).

I have no idea how stable their marriage was. I don’t know what went on when the cameras stopped rolling. All I can say is I wish them the best, and that I hate to see Atlanta’s best looking couple breaking.

Miss Nene Leakes. Does she ever not shine? I love her so much. No matter where the cards fall, she picks them up and moves on. Haters gonna hate, and Nene’s gonna do her thing regardless. I can’t wait to see how this season unfolds with the tension surrounding her and other cast-mates. Loved her look on Watch What Happens Live tonight, also.

It’s so great that Kandi and Todd finally tied the knot no matter what Mama Joyce said. I’m sure Kandi wouldn’t like anyone hating on her mom, and I’m not really hating on her….I love me some Mama Joyce, but she seriously needs to chill out for a minute. Todd seems like a great guy, and Kandi is more than happy with him. It seems to me like Joyce would be happy to see her daughter happy. But we all know how moms can be—too much time, too little to do. So, there they are all up in our business.

I don’t have much to say about Cynthia or Kenya. To me, Cynthia needs to reevaluate her friendship with Kenya. Kenya just wants her fame, and she’s going to use Cynthia now to try to work her way into being someone relevant. She’s not. She won’t be, but she damn sure will try. Better listen to Nene, Cynthia.

The Walking Dead

In other less “reality TV” news—was anyone else snoozing through tonight’s Walking Dead episode? I’m sorry, but other than Glen and Maggie, this group annoys and bores me.

I don’t think I’m alone when I say I think we all pretty much knew Eugene was no super scientist, and his creepy peeper scene tonight was too much. Okay, Creeper McPeeper, now that we know you’re meaningless can you just go stand over there and let us get back to some Daryl? Can we go check on Beth and Carol now?

Abraham is now a man without a mission, but at least he’s not the dead weight Eugene seems to be. I just want Glen and Maggie to find the group, help save Beth, and be done with the weirdos. I also want next week’s episode to redeem the snoozefest that was this week’s. And hey, we all know that pesky mid-season break thing will be coming soon. So it better get back to good quick.

To all my fellow #RHOA and #TheWalkingDead fans—thanks for reading. See you next week on Twitter—follow me for live tweet convo!